One-in-three American adults currently serve as informal caregivers, and most take care of an aging in place elderly loved one. Although caring for an aging senior is a labor of love, the physical and emotional demands involved can oftentimes be overwhelming.
As a result, many family caregivers eventually develop caregiver fatigue, which then places their health and wellbeing at risk. To make matters worse, many caregivers don’t ask for help when they should. If you currently find yourself in this situation, here are some easy ways to get the assistance you need.
Caregiver Fatigue Warning Signs
It’s not uncommon for a caregiver to be so invested in caring for an aging senior that they forget to take care of themselves. These are some of the classic warning signs of caregiver fatigue that you need to watch out for:
- Feeling sad, irritable, angry or lonely throughout the day
- Not sleeping enough or sleeping too much
- Lack of interest in activities once enjoyed
- Rapid weight gain or loss
- Feeling anxious, depressed or overwhelmed
- Takes longer than expected to recover from an illness
- Self-medicating with drugs and/or alcohol
If you are currently experiencing one or more of these symptoms, it’s time to find a temporary, or respite, caregiver to step in so that you can get recharged.
Respite Care Sources
When you’re starting to feel run down, don’t be afraid to ask for some assistance from these respite care sources:
Schedule a family meeting with your siblings and then honestly express your feelings and what it would mean to you if they could at least temporarily help-out with mom or dad’s care. Don’t be afraid to ask every family member to pitch in, and then create a weekly caregiving calendar based on each one’s availability, skills and your parent’s needs.
Most communities have adult daycare centers that will take care of seniors for a fee. Those adult daycares offer social activities, transportation, meals and light care assistance on a daily or weekly basis. When you don’t have family members nearby, an adult daycare center might just be able to fill the caregiving void until you’re ready to get back in the game.
Community Respite Programs
Many cities also offer senior-focused programs and services that are specifically designed to give family caregivers a break. You can find those through your area’s local chapter for the Agency on Aging, the ARCH National Respite Network Locator, or the Family Caregiver Alliance.
Senior Meal Services
Food shopping, meal preparation and cleanup take a lot of time. To lighten your load, try a senior meal service like Magic Kitchen, Bistro MD or Meals on Wheels. Not only will they deliver nutritious meals right to your loved one’s door, they can also prepare foods for seniors with special dietary requirements.
Most cities provide free public transportation services for elderly residents. Or, consider asking for transportation assistance by setting up your senior with a ride-sharing service like Uber or Lyft. If you have older kids that drive, don’t be afraid to ask them to give grandma or grandpa a lift to their next doctor’s appointment or the store. It’ll also be a great bonding experience for the two of them!
Hire a Respite Caregiver
Another temporary option you have is hiring a professional respite caregiver from a licensed home care agency. They will be happy to step in and provide your loved one with assistance for most activities of daily living. This includes meals, bathing, housecleaning and transportation. Before saying “yes” to an in-home caregiver, make sure to interview several candidates first to find one with a personality that compliments that of your loved one.
Reliable In-Home Respite Care for Massachusetts Seniors
Caring for an aging senior is highly rewarding, but it can also be overwhelming at times. When you need to take care of yourself, call Family Services of Central Massachusetts. As a fully licensed home care agency, our experienced aides will provide the attention to detail and expertise necessary to keep your loved one aging comfortably and independently in place right where they want to be. Our reliable respite care services include escorted transportation, grocery shopping, meals, personal care, light housekeeping, laundry and prescription pickups.
At Family Services of Central Massachusetts, the goal of our compassionate professionals is to serve as an extended family in the home that’s there to help yours. For more information about Family Services of Central Massachusetts, please contact us today at: www.fscm.org!